Ghosts is a gripping, ten song, posthumous love letter from Brooklyn’s Nakatomi Plaza. Aptly named for a record released after the band’s break up, the album comes with a booklet of liner notes filled with blurry black and white photos and reflections from each of the members about their time in the band. Reading these, one might assume that Nakatomi Plaza was just another idealistic punk band trying to keep their teenage, DIY-revolution zeal alive in the face of New York City and the challenges of adulthood. However, this is too hasty of a conclusion. Nakatomi Plaza made high-energy, pop punk for years, and they have produced a slick record that will appeal to the lovers of homemade recordings and kids who have grown up on mainstream “emo” rock production alike.
Any listener for whom the discovery of punk rock helped them survive their formative years will relate to Nakatomi Plaza’s fervent songwriting and passion driven performance. After close listening it’s also clear that playing music also was a formative experience for the band members and this album serves as a tribute to their years together.
The songs are fit for dancing and the lyrics for soul searching. The guitars crunch and twang with references to 1990’s bands like the Promise Ring and Jawbreaker, but the sound stays down to earth. From the road anthem of “Bomb Shelter,” to the melodic, catchy emotional rock of “Artificial Light” to the driving beats and desperation of “Guards,” Nakatomi Plaza knew how to construct a song and capture a moment in their music and in their lives. It’s rare to find a punk record on which each song is distinctly crafted and committed to tape. Ghosts underlines that Nakatomi Plaza’s break up is a loss for Brooklyn’s rock scene, but at least they have left this record.